Week 22 Ultrasound Image: http://www.pregmed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/22-Weeks-Pregnant-Ultrasound-Picture.jpg
What to Expect This Appointment?
Week 22 is one of the most peaceful weeks of pregnancy. By this point, the mother should be feeling the tiny kicks that the baby makes inside the womb. This is the baby stretching out its developed arms and legs. The fetus can detect the difference between light and dark, even though their eyelids are fused shut. This can be demonstrated by the mother shining a light on her tummy. The baby will attempt to move away to avoid the light.
This ultrasound should see a very active baby. The sense of touch has developed and the baby loves touching their face, sucking their thumb, and pulling on the umbilical cord. The baby is measuring in at around 11 inches and is just shy of being a pound in weight. This is the last week to have a fetal anomaly scan or a level 2 ultrasound. This helps the doctor check for any type of anomaly in fetal development. Having a level 2 ultrasound doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong, it allows the doctor to ensure that everything is developing normally. This type of ultrasound is standard for multiples which are already monitored more than a single pregnancy.
What is Developing?
Up until 22 weeks, the fetal brain is a smooth organ. At 22 weeks, the bumps and ridges that are associated with normal brains start to develop in the fetus. This development will continue until 34 weeks. Sensory organs are fully developed and the nerves associated with touch are reaching maturity.
At week 22, the liver starts to produce enzymes needed to break down bilirubin. Bilirubin is a principle byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells. These levels are higher in the fetus because their red blood cells have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, the pancreas has started major developments. The pancreas is a part of the endocrine and exocrine systems and is crucial in healthy hormone production.
Don’t get attached to your favorite shoes just yet. It is common during pregnancy for your feet to increase at least one size. The only issue is that many women never return to their normal shoe size. This pregnancy phenomenon is contributed to the hormone known as relaxin. Relaxin is secreted to help the joints and ligaments to loosen to allow the bones to spread once it is time for birth. Relaxin works all over the body, even your feet. Edema of the feet or swelling of the feet is another reason for the change in shoe size. The added swelling can cause the ligaments and joints of the feet to push out, increasing your shoe size.
Braxton Hicks contractions could potentially start this week. Braxton Hicks contractions are false contractions; however, they feel very real even to experienced mothers. Any type of contraction this early in the pregnancy should be considered serious to prevent preterm labor. While Braxton Hicks contractions are painful and annoying, they are not harmful.